With Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg's Cobra Kai ready to make its Netflix debut on New Year's Day, the series creators are addressing why Nichole Brown's Aisha will be MIA. First introduced as a childhood friend of Samantha's (Mary Mouser), Aisha would go on to join Cobra Kai as Johnny's (William Zabka) second student- and an impressive one. In September 2019, Brown posted in an Instagram story that she would not be returning for the series' third run- and now, Hurwitz and Heald have offered a little more insight into the casting decision during an interview with TVLine.
While confirming that Aisha won't play a role this season and that the character's absence would be explained during the season-opener, Hurwitz leaves the door open for future seasons. "We love Aisha and we love Nichole Brown. Certain characters we loved in Season 1 didn't appear at all in Season 2, like Kyler, Yasmine, and Louie," Hurwitz explained. "Before the season, we told Nichole the same thing we told those actors: That just because a character doesn't appear for a period of time doesn't mean they've left the universe, that they can't return again. We love that character, and perhaps we'll see her again one day." Heald echoed those sentiments, further emphasizing the point that a character not being on screen doesn't mean that the characters are gone for good. "We have a long story left to tell. We tend to look at the show in a very long view, where entrances and exits are impactful and important. Sometimes people need to exit to make their [re-entry] a little bit different and bigger."
In August, Hurwitz revealed that all of the film trilogy's characters are potentially in play (as we've seen already for the third season): "We love The Karate Kid trilogy and anyone who has seen Seasons 1 and 2 has seen us make references to all three of the original Karate Kid films. And we also say that it's our belief that anything that has happened in a movie Mr. Miyagi was in, which includes The Next Karate Kid, is part of the Miyagi-Verse and our series takes place in the Miyagi-Verse." Hurwitz continued, "Any character who has lived within this Miyagi-Verse has potential to show up at some point on Cobra Kai and I can say that the three of us, as writers, have literally discussed pretty much every person who has appeared in those films, from these large characters you're talking about, like the Terry Silvers of the world, to the most minor characters who had one or two lines."
COBRA KAI Season 3 finds everyone reeling in the aftermath of the violent high school brawl between their dojos, which has left Miguel in a precarious condition. While Daniel searches for answers in his past and Johnny seeks redemption, Kreese further manipulates his vulnerable students with his own vision of dominance. The soul of the Valley is at stake, and the fate of every student and sensei hangs in the balance.
That said, as fun as it is to bring these characters back for the fans it's important that the characters they use bring something meaningful to the series' overall narrative: "We view that as all characters who live in our universe and, at any moment in time, have the potential to show up as long as they're relevant to the present-day story that we're telling and don't feel like they're thrown in there for cameo purposes or for simply for nostalgia's sake," Hurwitz explained. "There needs to be a real, dramatic reason [in] present-day why any of these characters would be relevant to our story. I can say that, going forward, we should expect more characters from The Karate Kid films to return but I can't say who or when or pretty much anything beyond that."